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  • Problem Tenants

    Tenant in rent arrears wants to collect items

    I have a tenant who has moved out (following serving s21) but she has not yet returned the keys. She cancelled an arranged check out meeting on Monday and has postponed until 4pm today. 

    She said she still has belongings to remove. I do not know if she will turn up.  She owes approx £2,000 arrears for rent.    I'm not sure how to proceed.

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    You need to meet with her today. However, she has clearly not vacated the property and is still using it so you cannot say she has abandoned the premises.

    I would suggest you prepare a section 8 notice and give it to her when you meet. If she does not then leave you can go to court for possession and the arrears.

    You can say to her when you hand it over that if she goes within the 14 days then you will drop it and just take the deposit but if you are forced to seek possession it will be for all the rent arrears as well.

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    Thanks David.  I've already served a s21 notice which has expired.  Would I need a s8 too?

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    Softly softly at first

    My overriding priority would be to get possession today

    The first form I would try and get her to sign to achieve that  is a Deed of Surrender of the Tenancy

    Then you have possession and can deal with other matters slow time

    Be reasonable  about her belongings and give her some extra time if she needs it

    See what her fears are on arrival . If you reduce those by negotiating she may sign the surrender doc

    Then you get the keys and can change the locks later and  arrange access if needs be to remove her stuff

    If you frighten her off with a Sec 8 first  she may go to ground and you dont get possession today

    You are both looking for a way out

    A signed Deed of Surrender puts the ball firmly back in your court

    Good Luck

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Thanks I agree I just want the keys back and I doubt I'll ever see the arrears so I might use that as a bargaining tool to try and get the keys.

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    Yes agreed - I often use rent arrears as a bargaining tool

    Maybe offer a payment plan .

    I say to them if this goes to court you get a CCJ and still have to pay me back even at a tenner a week

    Why not short cut that system avoid all the anxiety and hassle and pay me a tenner a week or what you can afford and save both my costs and your costs

    And you as a bonus dont get a  CCJ which will damage your credit file going forward

    If you dont keep to the plan  then we can always go to court but I`m sure that wont happen etc etc

    I have payment plans with some  going back 5 years as i give them a way out

    The other help I offer is often transport and cash if they are down on their luck and dont drive

    I say look don`t move it all today, just sign here then grab your personal belongings hop in a taxi heres  £20

    The look of relief in their eyes is sometimes  palpable

    And when they have gone and I shut the door and say Phew 

    The tenant doesn't get to  see the relief in my eyes - but its there


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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Remind the T that until they have formally surrendered possession they're still liable for rent.... Number of times I've heard 'I moved out on this date' but didn't get round to telling you...

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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.

    Would they still be responsible for Council Tax too?

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    hmmm more complicated...
    https://www.landlordsguild.com/how-to-ens...d-of-term/

    I'd tell the tenant they're liable for everything until they either
    (a) formally surrender the tenancy (both paperwork and handing over the keys)

    or (b) if they don't want to formally surrender it you'll have to go to court for a possession order and they will remain liable for everything until the date of possession granted by the court.

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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.


    I’m just drafting a letter to that effect as she didn’t show up.

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    Update. No show at 4pm. Doing a letter pointing out the error and implications of her ways! I’ll send it via every medium I can. I’m also giving  her 2 deadlines and saying I’ll knock a months rent of her arrears if she surrenders keys by the first date. Next stage possession order at her cost - although I do still feel like it’s going to be good money after bad.  Need the keys though ..........

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